Monday, August 1, 2022

The Warren Report Issue 90: January 1978



The Critical Guide to
the Warren Illustrated Magazines
by Uncle Jack
& Cousin Peter

Creepy #94

"Etran to Fulsing" 
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Dick Giordano

"Bad Tommy" 
Story by Roger McKenzie & Nicola Cuti
Art by Martin Salvador

Story by Bill Pearson
Art by Alfredo Alcala

Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Leo Duranona

Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Luis Bermejo

"Backwaters and Timing Circles" 
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Alex Nino

Wyck, the young prince of Albanya (and a fledgling knight), heads out into the dangerous wilderness of Fulsing to find Princess Legina, who has been kidnapped by the evil wizard, Zadar. After defeating giant snakes and slaying the wizard, Wyck brings the young princess back with him to his parents' kingdom. That's when we discover that Wyck has been living in a fantasy world in a post-WWIII New York, using his imagination to dull the real-life horrors around him.

Not a bad story, "Etran to Fulsing" is just too predictable. In fact, Nick Cuti tips his hand about halfway through the story with Wyck's "lapses" into reality, seeing the "kingdom" for the wasteland it's become. Why then does Cuti present the final reveal as if it's a shocking twist? Giordano's art is just average (Wyck's parents, when they're revealed to be radiation-scarred, look like they had an accident while making the oatmeal that morning). The scene where Wyck fights the "wizard," who is actually just a fellow apocalypse survivor, is sooooo confusing. Does Wyck kill the man? Is the man actually protecting a young girl? If so, where is that girl afterwards? This one desperately needed an editor.

Tommy has built a robot replica of himself, but the damned thing has gone bad. That's right! There's a "Bad Tommy" in town. First the 'bot murders Tommy's sweetheart-next-door, Marcy, and then it blows the heads off Tommy's parents. When the police investigate, they find Tommy huddled in a closet, mumbling about "Bad Tommy." Abigail Lander, child psychologist, tries to get to the root of Tommy's psychosis and obvious split personality disorder, but Tommy insists there's an evil twin out there. 

When there's a knock on Abigail's office door, Tommy begs the woman not to answer, but Abigail is a grownup and doesn't believe in evil robot twins. She answers the door and "Bad Tommy" thrusts a knife into her breast. As Abigail lies bleeding to death, she witnesses the "Bad Tommy" confess he's actually the "Good Tommy" and the kid she'd been listening to all these hours is the robot. "Bad/Good Tommy" blows the roof off "Good/Robot Tommy"'s head and prepares to embark on a mission of terror. Abigail pulls the knife from her chest and kills "Bad Tommy."

Well, that's what we're meant to think, but the final action is all done "off-camera." I gotta tell ya, "Bad Tommy" has to be the stupidest script we've seen in a mighty long time ("Orem" still holds on to the much-sought-after "Worst Story to Appear in a Warren" award, but this is mighty close. Martin Salvador's stiff and boring pencil work only adds to my misery. The biggest question here is: if this kid is rotten to the core and intends to blame his carnage on an imaginary friend, why go to all the trouble of crafting a robot you're going to destroy anyway? No one believed the robot existed, so what's the point? The icing on the crap cake is dying Abigail pulling the dagger from her chest and crawling toward Tommy, ostensibly to kill him. Good trick, that. "Bad Tommy" is just "Bad!"

While hiking in the woods near his father's institute, young Alan Coburn comes across the oddly attractive older woman known as "Ada." Though she scurries away before he can approach, Coburn cannot get her out of his mind and returns to the woods several times, but to no avail. Then, five years later and Coburn a doctor himself, luck strikes and their paths cross once more. Coburn finds himself immediately in love with Ada but notices that she looks quite a bit younger. 

Wanting to know more about her, Coburn offers to drive her from the institute into town. Ada explains that she's long been a patient of Coburn's father and seems to be having a grand old time until they come across a couple with a baby. Ada runs away, back to the institute, leaving young Coburn mystified. When he returns to the hospital, his father takes him into his office and explains the situation. Ada is the victim of a genetic mutation, caused by her father's scientific experiments, that causes her body to age in reverse. It is imperative to her mental well-being that Ada be kept on the grounds of the institute and not allowed to roam the free world. Undaunted, young Coburn continues a friendship/romance that lasts until he's an old man and Ada dies a baby.

While allowing that the story is possible due to a huge helping hand from F. Scott Fitzgerald, I still find "Ada" to be a sweet, poignant love story with a nice gloss courtesy of Alfredo Alcala. Would I have found this story to be as powerful if it were penciled by Bermejo, Gonzalez, Corben, or Ortiz? Nope, probably not. I always find myself adding a star or two to even the most cliched or (in this case) borrowed of plots if Alcala was involved. Yep, there are definitely some questions to be asked (for one, why does Ada's body start out tiny and then grow tiny again when she's old?), but Pearson manages to avoid maudlin territory. Perhaps a greater mystery than Ada's aging process would be the sudden reappearance of Bill Pearson, who hasn't been heard from since 1968 (Eerie #13!). Was this a shelved script?

When a young man's body is found floating in a river, Detective Murphy suspects the killer might be the mentally challenged and missing "Bessie" Cross. There's a whole lot of pseudo-psychobabble that follows, but I haven't the patience to detail it. To cut to the chase, Bessie had a miscarriage when she was a teen and became, in her mind, her own child. Or... she became her mother. Something like that. Needless to say, the story did not impress me, nor did the Duranona art (see above). We're supposed to gasp when the truth comes out in the final, lengthy expository, but Leo's doodles left me scratching my head and rolling my eyes. 

Four boys messing with witchcraft enter into a bargain with Satan. To stay young, all they have to do is "Sacrifice" a human once every hundred years. Problem is, when the bombs fall and everyone is killed, they only have each other to sacrifice. "Sacrifice" is unfocused (where are the parents of these brats while they're staying young?) and the timeline really makes no sense, but Bermejo's art is muy unsettling. 

Timing Circles Inc. provides the very best in vacation trips to prehistoric eras. Little Ted loves to fish and when he finds out about Timing Circles he visits their office and talks the men into taking him on a trip. Mr. Gale, his guide, explains the Ray Bradbury rule to little Ted--never kill an animal while you're vacationing, as it could change the entire fabric of present-day life. But when Mr. Gale gets in trouble with a sea serpent, Ted has no other option than to bury a dagger in the creature's eye. As they exit their time machine back into the office of Timing Circles, Ted and Mr. Gale sigh a breath of relief that their world is still the same.

There doesn't seem to be an original way to frame these "trip back into the past" stories without borrowing heavily from Bradbury ("A Sound of Thunder," 1953) or deCamp ("A Gun for Dinosaur," 1956) or any number of Al Feldstein strips. It just doesn't seem feasible. So, what you do if you're smart, is you get an artist who so dazzles the reader that the words are negligible. And that's what happens with "Backwaters and Timing Circles." Budd Lewis microwaves a tired old plot and Alex Nino takes our breath away with art almost too good for a funny book. Why, oh why, didn't someone give Nino a few Cthulhu tales to illustrate?-Peter

Jack-With a stinker of an issue like this one, it's tempting to just write "ditto" and be done with it, but I do have a few different opinions. I enjoyed "Etran to Fulsing" and thought the story was clever and the ending unexpected. I especially like Giordano's art. Not so good is Salvador's art on "Bad Tommy," which starts out with gratuitous nudity, meanders along at an okay pace, and then ends with a dopey climax. "Ada" is deadly dull and I'm not as dazzled by Alcala as you are, so I can say that this is far from his best work.

"Bessie" is even worse, and the poorest story in the issue, in my opinion, with crummy art and unnecessarily graphic violence. "Sacrifice" is better due to Bermejo's work, but in the end it's just depressing. Aren't Warren's writers leaning a little too hard on the post-apocalyptic trope? Finally, I agree with you about Nino's work on "Backwaters and Timing Circles," and I really like the two-page spreads, but I can't get beyond the Bradbury theft.

Vampirella #66

"To Be a Bride in Death"★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"Down Under"
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Luis Bermejo

"Picture Complete"★1/2
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

"The Blazer"
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Jose Ortiz

Vampi is back on Drakulon, and the planet seems like Paradise. The only thing missing is people! Recalling her happy youth on her home planet, she locates and activates a teaching machine, and the image of her mentor springs to life. The hologram explains the cyclical nature of the destruction of civilizations on Drakulon and calls Vampi the hope for the future. Memories flood the beautiful Drakulonian's mind and she recalls the birth of her little sister, Vampyra, and the gradual destruction of her world. Her family died, followed by her lover, Tris, and she finds his skeleton and a note he left for her, along with a vial of his frozen cells with which to clone him and start a new civilization. Unfortunately, the vial is smashed when Vampi is attacked by a panther. Her life is saved by a humanoid creature who attacks the big cat. The humanoid disappears, Vampi awakens, and she puts an amulet around the panther's neck to transform it back into a woman--it's Pantha!

Has Jose Gonzalez ever drawn more gorgeous panels of Vampirella than those that appear in "To Be a Bride of Death"? If so, I can't remember it. The story isn't much, and most of the panels end up showing Vampi in various sexy and thoughtful poses, but wow, what poses! I had forgotten that Pantha was involved in this series and I'm still not sure what she's doing on Drakulon, but 12 pages of Gonzalez at his best are something to enjoy.

Marine biologist Ken Johnson meets pretty Liza Campbell and shows her a picture he took of a mermaid swimming underwater. Ken doesn't know it, but Liza is partners with creepy Rief, who wants to find and raise sunken treasure hidden in the area where Ken saw the mermaid. Liza pretends to be a mermaid to trick Ken, but she and Rief end up in a fight that leaves her unconscious, Rief dead, and Ken stuck underwater, his breathing tube severed. Ken and Liza wake up safely on his yacht and he thinks she saved him, but she was out cold the whole time, so it must have been a real mermaid.

That's the best I can do to make sense of "Down Under," a real mess of a story with gorgeous art by Luis Bermejo. His wordless panels depicting events under the water are stunning. Unfortunately, either Jones didn't spell out what was going on clearly enough for Bermejo to depict it graphically, or Jones himself didn't have a good handle on the plot, because the story jumps from one event to the next without much flow and is terribly confusing. The art reminds me of Russ Heath's work.

Lori buys an expensive oil painting of fruit, but when she brings it home and hangs it on the wall, Paul "accidentally" damages it. Cleaning off the mess, he discovers a painting under the painting that depicts a beautiful Egyptian woman guarded by a slave and menaced by a panther. Paul grows increasingly obsessed with the painting and ignores his stunning mate. Eventually, she leaves him and he works to make the "Picture Complete" by finding a woman, a man, and a big cat to replicate the scene. Things don't end well for Paul.

I let out a big guffaw when I saw that the painting under the painting was the famous Frazetta cover that Jim Warren had been hawking in his back pages ads for years. If only they all knew what the painting would be worth fifty years in the future! Mayo is another artist who knows his way around drawing a beautiful, curvaceous woman, and it's amusing to see Lori try to get Paul's attention with a series of sexy costumes, but the story stops making sense about eight pages in and I have no idea what happened at the end.

A real estate company wants to develop housing on Mars and hires "The Blazer" to do away with the lone, old Martian who is creating images that scare everyone off. Washed up Rodger Greenwood is chaperoned by his ex-lover, Diana, and when they're together on Mars he puts on a big push to win her back. She resists mightily but eventually goes to bed with him. Rodger finds and kills the pesky Martian and Diana is about to head back to Earth alone when she relents and stays with Rodger.

Jose Ortiz usually does better work than this. There are some decent panels but, as a whole, the art is uninspired. The story is odd and doesn't seem to belong in Vampirella. Other than the presence of the Martian and some monsters that are only created in the minds of those who see them, there's nothing horrible or even scary about this. It's kind of sad, with Rodger wiping out the last Martian so houses can be built, and the ending has an odd tone.

Happily, Peter reprinted all of the one-page conclusions to last issue's stories in the prior post, so I don't have to deal with them!-Jack

Peter-"To Be a Bride in Death" is unfocused and clumsy. It's also way too wordy. The Pantha appearance is puzzling. Is this the same Pantha that was on Earth or a cousin? The art, as usual, is great, but by this time it looks like Jose told Dube not to bother sending a script; he'd just pump out gorgeous poses and the fans would eat it up. This could just as easily be the 1978 Vampirella Calendar.

And on to the Bruce Jones trifecta: "Down Under" starts out pretty good but the expository and dopey ending sink the saga. But (and this is a big but) two thumbs up for the gorgeous Bermejo art. A particularly good month for Luis. Bruce goes completely off the rails with "Picture Complete," a laughable loonfest that has exactly one thing going for it: that moment when you turn the page and see the Frazetta hanging over Paul's fireplace. I have no inside info but I have to believe "Picture Complete" was slotted for Creepy #92, which ran a retouched (by Frazetta) reprinting of his "The Egyptian Princess" painting. Other than that big surprise, this is one huge turkey. So far Bruce is Ofer Two.

Third time's the charm for Jones (well, for the most part). "The Blazer" is an exciting adventure tale with some very nice graphics. Rodger's decision to shoot his friend in the back was a twist I didn't see coming. I could have done without the full page of soap opera backstory and that final four panels of WTF? Am I just dense or does that climax make no sense?

Malcolm McNeil
Eerie #89

"Trouble in the Time Factory"★1/2
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Luis Bermejo

Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Leopoldo Duranona

"Francesca, Part I"★1/2
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

"The Magician's Tower"★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

"Boiling Point, Part 2"
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Leopold Sanchez

An alarm signals "Trouble in the Time Factory," so Bishop Dane and Useless zip off in a mini spaceship to investigate. The Time Factory is a secret project that the U.S. Government has with Restin Dane to develop more time travel machines, but when Bishop and Useless arrive at its hidden location carved out of a nearby mountain, they discover that a Mandroid has gone on the rampage. Dr. Wing Wang explains that Mandroids were developed to replace humans and do jobs we can't (or won't) and that the only way to stop the one on a rampage is to use dangerous, experimental weapons. Bishop and Useless don flying rocket harnesses, but all they succeed in doing is getting Useless blown to pieces. Out of nowhere appears a big, lumbering hunk of metal that makes short work of the Mandroid; inside the big hunk is none other than Restin Dane, who has returned from his time traveling adventures just in time. He and Bishop rebuild Useless and all ends happily.

The cornpone dialogue of Bishop Dane gets tiring fast, so I'm glad Restin has returned. Useless remains a lot of fun and is the highlight of these stories as far as the writing goes. The real star of the show here continues to be Luis Bermejo, who can draw scenes from the Old West, beautiful women, and robots equally well. Best not to mention the unfortunately named Dr. Wing Wang.

Carol Fray arrives in Hollywood in 1954 and is quickly seduced, impregnated, and abandoned by a producer. She gives birth to "Crystabelle!" but is convinced to give the child up for adoption by a con artist named Red, who dumps Carol as soon as he can. She kidnaps her baby from the girl's new parents and hides her in the attic of her small home, where the child spends the next 24 years growing into a beautiful, mute, smelly young woman with an unhealthy affinity for spiders.

One day, when Carol is away doing chores, a lineman notices a loose electrical cable dangling from the upper floor of the house. He climbs up outside on a ladder, removes an attic vent, and meets Crystabelle. Not dissuaded by her filthy condition nor by the spiders crawling around on the attic floor, he "mates" with her and she murders him. Carol returns home, happy that her daughter is safe and unfazed by the corpse in the corner. Crystabelle lies asleep, dreaming of her successful imitation of the spiders she'd spent years observing.

Well, it is Eerie, I'll give it that, even though Duranona's art can be hard to figure out at times. I've reproduced a panel here that took me a few minutes to interpret, until I finally realized that it depicted, in extreme closeup, a man and a woman about to lock lips. DuBay can write some pretty disgusting stories, can't he? And he sure twists himself up in knots with unlikely events to make the plots work out.

Dr. Scott Harmon is so wrapped up in his medical practice that he is neglecting his super-hot wife, Jean. Scott learns that he and Jean are to become adoptive parents to a girl who was frozen 60 years before and recently thawed out to be cured of formerly incurable cancer. The "girl" turns out to be sixteen-year-old knockout "Francesca," who moves in with Scott and Jean but is a little bit weird. Francesca adores Daddy but barely gives Mommy the time of day, which makes Jean understandably nervous. Things get worse when Jean finds a dead man in her adopted daughter's bed and sees Francesca standing nearby holding a knife.

This is the Bruce Jones I've heard so much about? This is terrible stuff. The story is an awkward mix of nonsense and overblown Gothic romance, while the art is yet another series of posed panels, something that is becoming more frequent in the Warren comics as we chug toward 1980. I can't complain about the gorgeous women, but it's all a bit ridiculous. And this is only part one!

The beautiful, topless ninja woman threatens Hickey J. Lubus with the Black Demon's Sword, while Sullivan and the Demon Dog ascend "The Magician's Tower," climb through a window, descend a staircase, and come face to face with the magician's guards. Hearing fighting outside Lubus's cell, the hot ninja woman emerges and knocks out Sullivan with a kick to the throat. Sullivan is chained to the wall next to Lubus and both men watch as the magician uses the key to set free the Black Demon, who has been driven insane by centuries of captivity. The Demon grabs Sullivan and is about to satisfy his thirst for blood when the Demon Dog distracts him, allowing Sullivan to beat up the Magician. The Demon Dog grabs the sword and sends the Demon back to Hell, but the Dog is drawn along with him. The ninja slays the evil magician and the Daimyo and his men arrive, grateful to Sullivan for vanquishing the Demon. Sullivan vows to rescue the Dog from Hell.

I know Peter doesn't think much of this series, but I enjoy it, partly for the atmospheric work by Ortiz and partly because it mixes genres fairly well. The idea of an Irish vagabond going to Japan and getting involved with a beautiful ninja and a Demon Dog is pretty cool, and Ortiz knows how to tell a story in pictures much more effectively than some of the other artists toiling at Warren.

Tony and Rita barely escape falling in front of an oncoming subway train; each initially blames the other, but a hooded figure escapes down the tunnel. After an altercation with a conductor, Tony takes Rita home and visits a bar at 3 a.m., where he runs into his friend Paul, the priest who may have been hearing confessions from the killer. He thinks the killer will soon strike again and the duo descend into the subway, where Paul shoves Tony in front of a train. Tony survives by lying on the tracks and he follows Paul deep into the tunnels, where he hears Paul having some imaginary conversations with his late father before the killer ends his own life the way he killed all the others.

"Boiling Point, Part 2" is yet another example of good setup and poor execution. Rita is forgotten a few pages into this story; Paul shows up and is obviously going to be revealed as the killer. Jones once again leans hard on the trope of "childhood Daddy issues" before mercifully ending what started out with such promise. At least Sanchez makes it interesting to look at. I feel like a broken record.-Jack

Peter-What the Rook series needs most of all, aside from some "humorous" dialogue that's actually funny, is some cohesion. This chapter, just like the ones that precede it. seems to be made of small set piece vignettes tossed together with no particular thought as to how it all fits. Oh, and it needs a little more of its titular hero as well. 

Leo Duranona directs Season 3,
episode 6 of Charlie's Angels.
"Crystabelle!" is an ugly, foul mess; the protagonist and story both. Our poor maintenance man recoils at the "unwashed" smell of the girl but can't resist her feminine charms anyway. Duranona's panels look like the boards got rained on. Crystabelle's mom is the spitting image of "Bessie" (Creepy #94). That's probably not a coincidence as I believe, by this time, all of Duranona's females looked like they'd been through the ringer.

Gonzalo Mayo's art for "Francesca" is equally annoying. It's as if Mayo got a great deal on some ABC-TV promo stills or something and then traced a whole bunch of them. Everything looks staged, phony, and most of all, cramped (proof above). Those two final panels look like another artist's work. Bruce Jones's script is weak and (again) unfocused; that cliffhanger ending comes right out of nowhere. We won't get Part II until Eerie #91.

I've pretty much had it with the spinning wheels of "The Black Demon's Sword." This thing is not going anywhere but at least we get some decent Ortiz work. Jose can be counted on for great breasts and beasts. Part II of "Boiling Point" is a monumental letdown after the strong first half last issue. Bruce Jones falls back on the "abused child" excuse just like everyone else. I recently remarked to Jack that it seems as though Bruce Jones had phases of greatness. This month did not occur during one of those phases. What a lousy bunch of funny books this time out.

Next Week...
To Russia... With Batman!


Anonymous said...

When I first started reading the Warren mags in 1974, they were thin on the ground in my area. Crappy distribution meant I had to ride my bike all over town to the two or three liquor stores that occasionally had them for sale, and I still ended up missing lots of issues. It was always a treat to find one in the wild.

By the time these three issues went on sale in late ‘77, not only did an actual Comic Book store open for business just a few miles from my house (amazingly it’s still there) but I also had my driver’s license and access to my mom’s car, which meant I could drive over to Fantasy Castle in Woodland Hills or The Paperback Shack in Panorama City and never miss an issue.

And suddenly, they just weren’t that interesting to me anymore. From that point on, I rarely bought them.

Part of it had to do with the preponderance of new cover artists like Maitz and McLaren and McQuaite and Woodruffe — it seemed at the time a distinct drop in quality from Sanjulian and Kelly, both of whom were theoretically too busy doing paperback covers at that point in their careers to do much work for Warren. In retrospect, Maitz’ work improved significantly and rapidly, and I find even his earlier stuff to have a certain charm. But as I said, at the time it seemed like a signal : ‘Boy, is it OVER.’

Looking at these 77/ 78 mags now, the interiors are roughly no better or worse than they’d been in the previous few years. Stories are still all over the place — some excellent, some terrible, many just serviceable. Same with the art. Maybe it all just seemed very ‘Been There, Done That’ to me. I drastically reduced the number of Marvels I was buying around that same time, too.

That’s all a long way around to saying that these three books are relatively unknown to me. I ended up completing my collections of all the Warren mags years later (even THE GOBLIN and all those one-off reprint mags) but usually just flipped through them once, bagged and boarded em, and stuck em in a box.

Reading em now —well, overall, they’re better than I expected. More later.


Anonymous said...

‘Etran To Fulsing’ : Lovely Dick Giordano art. Wish he’d done more full art (pencils AND inks) for Warren. Hell, i wish he’d done more full art, period. I liked the story too. Didn’t mind that the little ‘perception shifts’ gave away the ‘surprise ending’.

‘Ada’ is a pretty nifty story, with good art by Alcala (I always liked those ink-wash jobs he did). Seems like he got a little confused a few times about what age Ada was supposed to be at a certain point (she was getting younger and prettier, then she was older again, then younger, etc). Also, I could never quite figure out how that ‘Aging Backward’ trope was supposed to work, practically, here and elsewhere (White’s ONCE AND FUTURE KING etc). Here, Ada is born a tiny infant, but old and wrinkled — then i suppose she rapidly reaches her full ‘Adult’ height (somehow) — still ‘old’ — and then starts growing younger, and then eventually starts shrinking? Seems like a lot of hand-waving going on, but overall, it’s still poignant and effective.

‘Backwaters and Timing Circles’: sure the basic story is old hat, rip-off, cliche’ and all that. Also, just plain dumb (you travel back all those hundreds of millions of years just to go FISHING? And don’t bring along any protections against getting et by carnivores? Etc) But with art this spectacular, they could have thrown in the old ‘Adam and Eve’ twist too and I wouldn’t have minded. When you guys were critiquing the earliest Warrens, I said I often find the stories to just be something to hang the artwork on, that if the basic subject matter is fun (whether it’s haunted castles and werewolves or dinosaurs and primordial jungles) and if the art is fab, I’m well satisfied. That’s 100% the case here. I think some of Nino’s later stuff in 1984 gets a bit TOO busy and incoherent, but this one is flat-out jaw-dripping, practically perfect, one of the best Nino stories I’ve ever seen.


Story-wise, the Vampi story is a big nothing but holy mackerel, the Gonzalez art is GORGEOUS. He was always ‘good’ but this seems like a major ‘level up’ moment for him. Another case of Style triumphing over Lack of Substance.

Same for Bermejo’s art on ‘Down Under’. Stunning. The story ain’t bad neither.

I still find the Rook stories a waste of pages. Just can’t get into it. Ortiz’ art on the Scallywag story is solid, but I regret to say Léopold Sanchez’ art on his last several stories hasn’t been rocking my world. Maybe he was getting bored with the scripts Weezie was sending his way, and not feeling inspired.

Hey, I just now realized — no Infantino this month. Hmm! Was this around the time he started drawing a gazillion monthlies for Marvel (Star Wars, Ms. Marvel, Nova, Spider-Woman etc) ?


Peter Enfantino said...

My youth was spent pretty much as yours was -- most of my life riding around on my bike looking for a 7-11 or Mini-Mart that carried the comics and zines I wanted. Luckily, I discovered Bob Sidebottom's shop in downtown San Jose in the early 70s and, aside from Skywalds, that was one stop shopping. But it was always the coolest of cool to walk into Stop N Go and find the latest Vault of Evil spinning on the rack! Nothing these days compares.

Anonymous said...

I’ve often felt the relative scarcity of certain things is a big part of what makes them so desirable. Definitely true of the Warren mags back in the mid-70s. In fact, that was one of the things that made finding EERIE 59 on the magazine rack at Smith’s Food King such a seismic shock for me. Here was this entire line of Horror Comics (plus a mag devoted to Horror MOVIES) that I’d never even heard of, that had been around for years, that were written and drawn by some of the same people who worked at DC and Marvel and were not only comparable in quality but were often BETTER — I felt like I’d stumbled upon some strange secret or something.

Around the same general time, I acquired one of those Ballantine Lovecraft paperbacks (with the kooky/kreepy John Holmes covers), TALES OF THE CTHULHU MYTHOS Vol. 1, and the ‘secret cult’ factor of the whole Mythos thing was a huge part of its appeal to me. Nowadays, of course, i see people literally name-checking Lovecraftian deities or quoting from the stories in mass media all the time — Elder Gods and shoggoths are a dime a dozen.

How many times did I think to myself in my younger days, ‘Ah, how cool it would be to have single episode of OUTER LIMITS at my fingertips, and NIGHT GALLERY and THRILLER and MAN FROM UNCLE and THE MUNSTERS and all the Emma Peel AVENGERS — and every Universal and Hammer horror movie, and all the Corman Poe movies, and the Bava movies, and the Republic serials — and every EC Comic, complete runs of all the best Marvels, practically every single piece of fiction written by HPL and REH, and CAS, etc, etc, etc. And it IS cool, no doubt about it. But…I dunno.

A wise man once said : ‘You may find that having a thing may not be as pleasurable as wanting it.’ I believe it was Mr. Spock.


Quiddity99 said...

I went into "Etran to Fulsing" sighing over what projected to be yet another dull sword & sorcery tale, but ended up liking it a lot. It reminded me of the story "Twisted Medicine" from around 5 or so years prior, albeit told in less offensive fashion this time. "Bad Tommy" on the other hand confused me quite a bit (for much of the story I thought it was one kid with a split personality) and no real need to do two twists at the end. I too liked "Ada" a lot, if this really was an inventory script I'm surprised they held onto it for 10 years. Given the recent Corben inventory story too I wonder why in the world Warren held onto multiple decent stories for so long before publishing. "Ada" isn't really horror in nature, but then we've had plenty of such stories in Eerie like that, and it easily could have gone there earlier. Ah well. I somehow skipped two pages when I read "Bessie" and had to go back to make sense of it, but overall liked the story. "Sacrifice" has some strong Luis Bermejo artwork for what was just a so-so story for me. While "Timing Circles" absolutely is a ripoff of "A Sound of Thunder", I too felt that the amazing Alex Nino artwork was really great stuff that helped prop it up. Overall I was fairly happy with this issue, with "Bad Tommy" being the only total dud.

"To Be a Bride in Death" seemed like a rather odd Vampirella story, or at least very different than the typical one, and seems like we are once again revising some of Vampi's backstory (a little sister that was never mentioned before?). Adding Pantha, who has been absent for a good 15+ issues now was a nice touch though, hopefully that will mix up the formula a bit. A rare Bruce Jones "dud" with "Down Under" which was a bit too long and just way too predictable an ending. "Picture Complete" on the other hand I thought was a bit different than the usual fare and thought it was rather interesting how they incorporated the old Frazetta painting. I too have got to assume that this was originally meant for Creepy #92 and must have missed the deadline or something. "The Blazer" seemed rather pointless to me; two Bruce Jones duds in one issue is quite the shock. This would have fit a lot better in the "All Mars" issue of Creepy they did a while back.

After being really happy with the Rook story last issue, this one is more akin to the so-so quality that I expect from the series. "Crystabelle" has some strong art and a pretty lengthy build up only to give us an ending one can see coming from a mile away. Another two part story from Bruce Jones with "Francesca" and another one that I can't remember at all the details and wonder where it will go next. This first story seemed a bit dragged out to me. "The Black Demon's Sword" ended fairly well for me, again particularly for how good Jose Ortiz's art was. I did not expect the priest to be the killer in "Boiling Point" so he got me there at least, but I'd agree that I didn't like how much Rita just fell off the map with this second story.